Sean O’Connor, an insurance broker employee in Chicago, claims he suffered antigay harassment from his former employer, according to a report in the Windy City Times.
O’Connor worked as a media associate for GoHealth until April of this year. According to complaints, he was at a work function at a restaurant. While chatting with some of his colleagues, GoHealth Vice-President of Sales Scott Sullivan approached the group and joined in the conversation.
Then things took a dark and sudden turn.
Without provocation, Sullivan clenched his fists and called O’Connor a “faggot motherfucker.”
Then he said it again.
Sullivan walked away. When he complained to GoHealth’s CEO, Clint Jones, Jones accused him of “causing trouble” and had him kicked out of the event.
O’Connor did not return to work after the confrontation. He said he received a written apology from Sullivan via email the following day, but still felt uncomfortable being around his colleagues.
“I needed some time to go over what happened,” O’Connor told the Windy Times. “It didn’t seem like a place I could be productive anymore.”
He ultimately decided to go on unpaid leave.
“I couldn’t do the job rationally,” O’Connor said, “Apology or not, I didn’t see myself passing this guy at the coffee machine every morning.”
O’Connor has since found a new job, but says he is contemplating legal action against his former employer.
“I’m not trying to play the victim,” he said. “But people still need to know that these kinds of things go on.”
O’Connor’s attorney, Betty Tsamis, told the paper, “This was a professional interaction, but that kind of language is obviously not appropriate under any circumstances.”
Ironically, in June, GoHealth was named as one of Chicago’s “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources. So far they are refusing to comment on the incident.
Photo credit: NBC Chicago.